So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide…” Genesis 22:14
When I grew up, being a provider was the father’s primary role. For most of my married life, I provided the financial support for our family. In fact, I worked almost continuously from the age of fifteen until just recently. 2017 marked the first year when I didn’t have a steady income.
It’s funny. I didn’t anticipate this to be a problem, but sometime in early March, I began to experience some alarming events. I would wake up in the middle of the night, my heart pounding and drenched in sweat. My first thought? We had run out of money.
No amount of logic would alleviate my fear. Prayer didn’t seem to change things either. Ultimately, I forced myself to see the truth and confronted my severe lack of faith. God’s Word has a great deal to say about reliance on earthly wealth including St. Paul in his letter to Timothy and Proverbs.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17
Clearly, I had been setting my heart on what was in my bank account and finding comfort in the paycheck that arrived every two weeks for over thirty years.
Becoming aware of my faithless worrying and praying about it didn’t seem to change anything. Not only did my fears continue, but I also began to obsess about spending and saving. I even considered taking another position, one that would be even more demanding than the one I left.
I wondered where my faith in all of this was. Hadn’t I written a book about trusting in the Lord in all circumstances?
Then I stumbled upon the story of Cornelius Smith, the father of English Evangelist Rodney “Gipsy” Smith. Before his conversion to Christianity, Cornelius played his fiddle in saloons. One Christmas, after his wife had died from smallpox and he had no money or food to feed his six children, he contemplated playing again to ensure his children had Christmas dinner.
Instead of yielding to temptation, he knelt and prayed, and then announced to his children, “I do not know what we will have for Christmas dinner, but we shall sing.” As they were singing joyfully, they heard a knock at the door. The local missionary brought news of provisions waiting in town for them – enough that it required a wheelbarrow to bring it back to the camp. The Lord had provided!
Although I have never heard it, this was the old hymn they sang:
“In some way or other
The Lord will provide:
It may not be my way,
It may not be thy way;
But yet in His own way
The Lord will provide.”
Like Cornelius, I need to pray to overcome the temptation to do things “my way”. Like Abraham on the mountain, I must stand on the promise that the Lord will provide. And in case I forget that faithless worrying is a symptom of my lack of faith, I have Jesus’s words to remind me:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:25-26
May the Lord grant both you and me the faith to trust in His promise to provide for all of our needs. Amen.
I would love to learn from you. Have you ever struggled with trusting in earthly riches rather than God’s provision? How have you dealt with it?